When B’nai Adath was devastated by its November 14, 2017 fire, we were consoled that not only had no one been injured in the fire, but the firefighters who came to our aide saved our beloved Torahs. Like Jewish communities across the world, our Torahs are sacred to us.
Am Yisrael is composed of individuals within sacred communities and congregations (kehillot kedushah) from across the world, from Israel, to Western and Eastern Europe, North America (Canada and the United States), Latin America, Russia, the Middle East (including Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen), India, Morocco, Tunisia, and the home of our ancestors, Africa, all celebrating the divine expression contained in the Torah. All of these communities have sofers or scribes who have handwritten Torah scrolls in the same way going back thousands of years.
When we experienced the fire we were very concerned about the safety of our three Torah scolls. Though they survived they needed kosher repair. In fact, they have been repaired by a wonderful sofer or scribe, Rigoberto Emmanuel Viñas, who lives in Yonkers and whose family are Ahnuseem from Cuba.
Our Torahs, exemplify the diversity within Am Yisrael as they were written by scribes within the Polish, Austro-Hungarian and Sephardic-Syrian communities, repaired by a Cuban Jew and are read and held sacred by our Black Hebrew Israelite congregation. Holding our sacred Torahs, reading them, dancing with them in our arms, we know we are a unique close knit kehillah kedushah firmly within Am Yisrael and we rejoice in being so.